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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Work Type
4th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Iron Age
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Cast, lost-wax process
8.7 x 7.8 x 1.2 cm (3 7/16 x 3 1/16 x 1/2 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: These four bracelets (1992.312, 1992.313, 1992.314, and 1992.315) feature repeated nodular bands made to look like a sequence of alternating rounded and cylindrical concave beads. There is a larger slightly hollowed cup-like terminal at each end. The terminals face each other but are not joined. Each bracelet was cast in one piece. Exactly how the models were shaped is not clear, but the shapes appear to have been modeled in wax. The scored areas between the nodules preserve an unidentified hard brownish-black material that resembles putty. A very worn decorated band with traces of dots and zigzags also runs around each of the cup-shaped terminals and preserves traces of a similar material. It is unclear whether the decorations were made in the wax or in the metal.

The surface of 1992.312 is very worn and has oxidized to a dark brown with reddish areas and a few of green, suggesting that the object was at some point cleaned to a bright metal. One side of 1992.312 is much more smoothed down than the other, and there is a clearly visible loss of material on the worn side that has resulted in the loss of definition on many of the beads, exposing the bare metal. How or why this occurred is not clear. However, this wear pattern has not been distributed evenly across the whole bracelet. One end of the bracelet also shows a spiraling pattern of wear that finishes in a slight dent and thinning of the terminal. This wear is mirrored on the other terminal. On 1992.313, the wear is even more pronounced. The putty-like remains bleed over the edges, and the two ends seem to join more closely, possibly suggesting that they may even have been stuck together at some point. The inscribed edges of its terminals are also badly worn bear marks of flattening.

1992.314 and 1992.315 are similar to 1992.312 and 1992.313, except that they have slightly different decorative patterns, and 1992.315 is slightly smaller. The nodular band is continuous and does not have the alternating bands separating the nodular beads. Each bead bears a stamped dot and circle, except where it has been worn away, and a curved inscribed line. These decorations were done on both sides of the piece but were worn down on many of the bracelets, as on 1992.312 and 1992.313. Remains of the dark material in the grooves mentioned above can be found in parts of these decorative bands as well. 1992.314 has a similar pattern of wear as 1992.312 and 1992.313, but 1992.315 still preserves all of its modeling in the round in spite of some surface wear. It also has more extensive reddish corrosion on the surface, along with corresponding pitting.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)

[Sotheby’s, New York, June 25, 1992, lot 93], sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1992.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, David M. Robinson Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This oval bracelet is decorated with sixteen raised bead shapes. This piece may have had additional decoration on the beads, but it is not preserved. Between each bead is a saddle shape. The terminals, which do not join, flare into hollow drums. A poorly preserved band of decoration is visible encircling the edges of the terminals.

The overall decoration and sizes of bracelets 1992.312, 1992.313, 1992.314, and 1992.315, along with the torc 1992.311, are similar enough to each other that these objects could have been made in the same workshop, perhaps by the same artisan. A very similar torc and bracelets were found in a tomb at Mainz-Linsenberg and are dated to the fourth century BCE (1).


1. See H.-E. Joachim, “The Rhineland,” in The Celts, eds. S. Moscati et al., exh. cat., Palazzo Grassi, Venice (London, 1991) 261-64, esp. 262.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at